I was recently at Content Marketing World 2014 and had the opportunity to meet a few influencers in the online marketing space (broadly including content marketing, SEO, social media, business blogging and online advertising). Most of them were conference speakers.
Some of them were prior online connections who I introduced myself to and a couple were connections of theirs who happened to be nearby. This was fairly easy for me, as I had had decent relationships online with most of these people and luckily my online avatar matched up fairly well with my actual appearance so no explaining was necessary.
I did notice that some of the influencers themselves were actively seeking out many of the others and were very actively taking pictures, conducting interviews, and making new contacts.
So during the recent Content Marketing World (#CMWorld) Twitter Chat on “Content for Networking” with Andy Crestodina, there was time for questions. A lot of the discussion had been around events (and networking) and the one thing that always sticks in my mind related to networking at events is this, “Is networking at events an extroverts game? Are introverts basically screwed?” As a slight introvert, I know I’ll always lose to the extrovert in terms of people met, relationships established and “social proof” acquired (e.g. selfies with all the influencers).
The answer is that all is not lost – introverts can succeed in their own way.
So here are the lessons on “introvert networking” (with the Tweet transcript below to keep me honest):
- Introverts can develop a few solid connections (versus a “pocket full of cards”) – quality of quantity
- Set achievable networking and content goals and be happy once you hit them (my strategy)
- Manage your energy carefully and take time out whenever needed
- Consider content collaboration as a way to make networking easier (an excuse to break the ice)
- Use the skills of an introvert to listen and ask great questions
- Read “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”
- Make new friends online and look for these “old” friends in person (I use that one a lot)
- Wear your “I hate small talk” t-shirt! 🙂
Are you an introvert?
What are your best strategies for succeeding at events? Let us know in the comments!
Tom Treanor is the founder of the Right Mix Marketing blog. He’s the author of the Search Engine Boot Camp, the co-author of Online Business Productivity, and regularly speaks at industry and corporate events. His writing has been featured on the Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, Copyblogger and other leading industry blogs.